hoster.wtf Quality criteria
Hoster.wtf - Cloudfest Hackathon 2019
(this document is also available on Google Docs )
Hosting can be very different, especially in the shared hosting environment almost every hosting company has different configuration backend and other configuration and infrastructure stacks. This can be quite challenging for the end-user after ordering shared hosting. Although every hosting company offers shared hosting with PHP, MySQL, FTP and SSL certificates the way this is configured to be used with a standard CMS is often very different and complex, even for expierenced users. This project wants to define a list of quality criteria to be able to test different hosting packages and their configuration against that list to find problematic and/or difficult settings. The goal should be to have the possibility to compare different shared hosting packages against each other and to know the pitfalls of them. At the moment, the website hoster.wtf offers anecdotes about configuring different shared hostings of (mainly german) hosting companies. The website should be extended to offer the test and quality criteria list offer the test results of often used shared hosting packages offer help for typical configuration pitfalls of these hosting packages
What we want to do?
Quality criteria for easy onboarding and configuration of shared hosting packages for content management systems
In the first step, a list of quality criteria is needed to define what we expect from a shared hosting environment to be used for content management systems. This list does not only contain technical criteria like PHP versions, server configuration and so on, but also different criteria looking at the registration process, the available support and the onboarding process. In a second step, different hosters with different packages should be tested against that criteria list. The results should be shared online. A mid-term goal is to relaunch the existing website hoster.wtf to provide the criteria list, hoster testing results and a possible ranking based on these results. Additionally, the website can provide help and detailed tips & tricks for typical configuration pitfalls of these hosting packages.
List of quality criteria
Registration process and available plans
- Which payment methods are available?
- Are there questions about the gender within the registration process? (Gender questions are not relevant for the registration process and not needed for the crontract)
- How (easily) can I cancel the subscription?
- What is the minimum contract term?
- Are free testing periods available?
- Is a domain name needed at registration?
- Is there a limit to the allowed traffic?
- Which support channels are available?
- Is 24/7 support available (perhaps in special plans or as add-on)?
- Is Phone support available (perhaps in special plans or as add-on)?
- Which support services are available in the basic plan?
- Does the hoster offer automatic backups?
- Are there add-ons available from partner companies? Are there any information about what happens with the customer data, if the partner is based in another country?
- In the registration process, are there questions about the phone number? Is this needed for Two-Factor authentication in the registration process?
- Does the hoster offer SSL certificates? Are they free (e.g. Let’s Encrypt)?
- Are there any limits for the password length for the control panel, the database or the FTP login?
- What kind of Control Panel is offered? Is it a known software (cPanel, Plesk, …) or a special implementation of the hoster?
- Can the document root be defined or changed per domain?
- Can the PHP version be changed per domain?
- Is SSH available? If yes, is it possible to save a public key?
- Are the PHP configs changeable (via php.ini, .user.ini, .htaccess or Control Panel)?
- Is an .htaccess used / possible per domain (Apache only)?
- Is FTP access possible in a secure way (FTPS or SFTP)?
- Is mod_rewrite available and activated by default (Apache only)?
- PHP: FastCGI, FPM, Apache module?
- Is there a size limit for PHP uploads?
- Is there a size limit for script-generated files?
- Is gzip supported by the Webserver (mod_deflate,...)?
- Which PHP versions are available?
- Is it possible to enable/disable PHP extensions?
- Is HTTP/2 available?
- In which country is the server located and the data stored?
How to measure quality?
The above questions and criteria are called “quality criteria”, although it is not clear for all questions, what impact the answer has on the quality of the hosting plan. It’s more a possibility to compare different hosting environments based on the own needs regarding the planned project.
Hosters we tested
The following hosters were checked: 1&1 Ionos (german) Bluehost Strato (german) DomainFactory (german) Kinsta (special WordPress hosting) uberspace (german) Raidboxes (german, special WordPress hosting)
All detailed results are available in a Google spreadsheet, together with the results of the hackathon partner project “Hack my hoster”. Please find all detailed information there: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1f0wOYFhRObk5XQwKERwNdfn8Yb68e4M-7uTAWvIWsqM/edit?usp=sharing
For an overview of results, please find attached a screenshot of the results.